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Furniture & Interior Design Blog

5 Pieces of Furniture you Shouldn’t DIY

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Do It Yourself (or don't)

The DIY movement is alive and well. It’s all about blending your creative ideas, your emerging mechanical know-how, and your recyclable materials into useable assets in your home while eliminating waste, reducing costs, and recycling otherwise discarded materials and objects giving them new life. 

DIY’ing is all about sustainability and eco-friendly aspects of production, utilizing imagination and initiative to create change within many industries, as varied as water-collection, furniture production, energy-efficiency, and even food production. Do-It-Yourselfers are thrifty, innovative, and well-equipped to make due with less. 

In the realm of DIY furniture production, there are a few pieces that are better left untouched. Your intentions may be noble, your skillset impressive, and your resources expansive - but some of them are just complicated and not worth the time. A big aspect of sustainability further accentuates use of resources and asks what is cost-effective, and therefore sustainable in a whole new sense - to the families and individuals that undertake the task. 

When you can invest in a durable, ethically produced sofa sectional for less money than it would cost you to construct your own DIY sectional, those financial resources could be more aptly put towards other means. Sustainability, in addition to it’s eco-friendly pillars, can also mean sustainably distributing your own resources, time and knowledge.

These are our top 5 furniture pieces that you probably shouldn’t DIY: 


The recliner is a staple of the classic living room appeal. It’s large, in charge, plush and comfortable - it’s the furniture equivalent of a hot bowl of soup in the dead of winter. 

Trying to build your own recliner may seem like an excellent idea when you’re scouring inspiration websites like Pinterest - there are many instances where inclined carpenters and builders undertake complicated projects like this, but unless you’re one of them the process is complex, and recliners have to be engineered to work flawlessly over time. They’ll require a mechanical crux, and as a DIY project, you can find many other instances that will help your ego, rather than crush it.

If you’ve got backyard wooden recliners on your mind, sourcing one from a neighbourhood builder who uses ecologically sourced and sustainable wood products is going to accomplish the same thing. Trying to navigate the complexities and weight distribution of a homemade recliner is probably going to leave you. 

Murphy Beds

These fold-down, wall-mounted bed systems can be awesome additions for cramped spaces and small apartments, cottages, or homes. But they’re tough cookies to crack mechanically, and there’s always the risk of having the murphy bed itself fall out of its storage position without warning when you build them yourself. If you’ve got little ones running around, there are certainly less complicated DIY furniture pieces you could focus on. 

Murphy Beds require the inclusion of a mattress that is both flexible enough to accommodate being hidden inside a wall, and light enough that it’s easily lifted into place for storage purposes. If you’re recycling an old coil spring queen sized mattress, you may be talking about lifting a considerable amount of weight - up to an approximate 200 pounds including the weight of the hinged wooden or metal frame that supports the mattress. This weight may mean that your new DIY bed is largely unusable by people who could have trouble lifting it down. 

Purchasing or recycling the right lumber to build a suitable frame - while not rocket science - could be expensive, given the hardware and possible pulley/spring systems you could require as a result of the weight.


The couch is often the focal point of the living room. It’s usually the largest piece of furniture in the room, and its ability to provide comfort for you and your guests is paramount to its success. Undertaking a DIY couch build can be a rewarding experience, and your final product could easily rival the finest postmodern pieces. Modern aesthetics support the sharp edges and right angles of basic plywood and recycled lumber construction methods, and you can easily have cushions upholstered to fit your creation

But don’t go thinking these things are all glory - couch construction, depending on your space, can prove to be difficult. When building the frame, you may need to build it inside your living room to ensure that it can fit through doorways, hallways and stairwells. Imagine building your own stunning couch frame only to find it can’t fit through your front door. As the old saying goes: “measure twice, cut once.”

DIY couches can also mean decreased comfort. Inability to upholster the armrests because of cost or ability, mean that laying out on your new creation may not be as comfortable as a recycled or upcycled couch. When the couch is the staple of living room comfort, comfort can never be sacrificed. 

Pallet Furniture/Accent Walls

We completely understand the aesthetic appeal of recycled wood from pallets and similar sources. The wood is textured, authentic, rustic, and often - free. It’s the perfect material for a recycled or upcycled DIY project like a futon, accent wall, or couch. But don’t. Truly. Save yourself. 

Pallets are incredibly difficult to pry apart, and without the help of a Pallet-Buster, you’ll exhaust yourself and break more boards than you’ll manage to salvage. There’s also the issue of finding a multitude of pallets with varying thicknesses, making planing your boards a messy and timely activity. Some people have utilized whole pallets as couch and bed bases, and they may look great, but they also present a few home hazards like exposed nails and splinter-opportunities down the line. They also have a tendency to look cheap, rather than the postmodern focal points you’ve likely seen online. 

They’re also quite heavy, cumbersome, and the look is *ahem* rather 2006, wouldn’t you agree? If a chic DIY bedroom or living room is what you’ve got in mind, a pallet-sourced furniture project is time-consuming, frustrating, and out-dated. As an alternative, try barnboard as a source of DIY material - or source yourself a cost-effective existing couch or bed frame. 

Pool Tables

There are many instances where people choose to build their very own means of entertainment for man cave or rec-room. Think crokinole boards, dart boards, bar tops, etc. The pièce de résistance of DIY home entertainment is the billiard table. 

Building a billiard table may save you thousands of dollars - quite literally - as these pieces can be purchased for just about any amount you can bear to spend. Building one to spec is where things get interesting. A pool table needs to be perfectly level, meticulously measured to official size, and built with materials that mimic the professional movement of a store-bought pool table. Pockets must be built with exact geometric angles. Using recycled materials for the felt, for example, may cause the billiard balls to catch, or roll, uncharacteristically of a normal pool table. If playing professionally is your aim, using recycled DIY materials could limit the progress of your game.

If you’re anything less than a professional carpenter, have older imprecise tools, or little experience, building a regulation billiard table may be out of reach.

Lacey Grey Fabric loveseat Pallucci Furniture | 32 E Broadway Vancouver, BC | V5T 0B6 | Phone: (604) 568-4855 | Google+

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